Have difficulty swallowing? Here are signs to look out for

ABOUT one million Australians have difficulties swallowing.

That difficulty effects their life in areas well beyond meal time.

Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service speech pathologists urge people to seek advice early if they believe they are having swallowing problems.

Today is Swallowing Awareness Day - a time to raise awareness to these type of patients.

What you should know about swallowing

Swallowing does not only occur during meals' humans swallow about 900 times a day.

That includes once a minute while awake, about three times an hour when they're asleep and even more when eating and drinking.

A difficulty swallowing is known as dysphagia. It describes problems eating and drinking.

These difficulties include problems chewing, difficulty controlling saliva, difficulties protecting lungs from food and liquid going the wrong way, uncontrolled dribbling, and feeding difficulties as a child.

WBHHS Fraser Coast director of speech pathology Aimee Smith said dysphagia can occur at any stage of one's life.

"Dysphagia can put people at risk of poor nutrition and dehydration, and for babies and children this puts their development at risk," she said.

"The people we see each day range from babies who were born prematurely and children with cleft lip and palate, to adults who have suffered a head, brain or neck injury, such as a stroke. We also see people with conditions such as Parkinson's disease."

Each day WBHHS speech pathologists help patients overcome swallowing difficulties so they are able to not only enjoy life, but avoid potentially life-threatening medical problems such as pneumonia and choking.

"Eating and drinking is an important part of everyday life. It sustains us nutritionally, but also sustains us socially - many events are planned around eating and drinking," Ms Smith said.

Early signs of dysphagia include:

  • a feeling that food or drink is stuck in your throat or going down the wrong way
  • long meal times and eating slowly
  • coughing or frequent throat clearing during or after eating
  • being short of breath when eating or drinking
  • frequent chest infections with no known cause.

"Early intervention is vital. If you notice any signs, you should see your doctor or refer yourself to a speech pathologist through the Speech Pathology Australia website," Ms Smith said.

Topics:  fchealth fraser coast general-seniors-news health swallowing awareness day wide bay hospital and health service

New Men's Shed blessed by Governor General Cosgrove

Governor General of Australia Sir Peter Cosgrove officially opens the Hervey Bay Men's Shed at Nikenbah. Antony Van Huyssen, 9, was presented with a Commander of Australia Medallion by the Governor-General.

Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove opened the Men's Shed.

Hey Fraser Coast! Get 15 kids books with the paper!

No Caption

THEY’RE some of the most loved children’s books in Australia…

Week in review: Five biggest stories of the week

President of Hervey Bay Historical Village & Museum John Anderson near the fence where a glove was left caught in the barbwire following a break-in on Wednesday night.

We also had a heartbreaking story for our volunteers.

Local Partners

Zumba for kids to start this month in Hervey Bay

Mother-of-three and dance instructor Peta Whitney knows the cost of raising a family and wants to help Hervey Bay families keep active on a budget.

Working class? Man, Gympie's got the show for you

Jimmy Barnes

Aussie rock icons coming to Gympie for 150th celebrations.

Tables turn as rescue crew takes on gruelling mountain

EPIC CHALLENGE: Hundreds of runners will tackle the 4.2km run from the heart of Pomona to the top of Mt Cooroora and back on Sunday.

They are usually the people coming to the rescue of adventurers

Artists to hit the stage for Childers Festival

LIVE LINE-UP: Mzaza will hit the stage at the Childers Festival next weekend, along with many other cultural performers.

Array of cultural performances on show next weekend

Maggie's whirlwind trip around Japan

Cooking icon serves up the best of Japanese cuisine and shows you how to make it at home in her new TV special.

Exploring our complex relationship with the Southern Cross

Warwick Thornton in a scene from his documentary film We Don't Need A Map.

Filmmaker Warwick Thornton explores national identity, nationalism.

Ben will be cooking with Oma

Masterchef 2017 contestant Ben Ungermann.

MASTERCHEF'S last man standing will draw on his Dutch heritage.

Prince Charles and Camilla heading for Qld

Prince Charles and Camilla

It promises to be a holiday fit for a King

Eddie McGuire to come back as Footy Show co-host

Eddie McGuire at the Million Dollar Lunch annual fundraiser for the Children's Cancer Foundation in Melbourne, Friday, Aug. 6, 2015. (AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy) NO ARCHIVING

Footy Show axes Craig Hutchison, Sam Newman survives

Channing Tatum’s cheeky $2400 sex toy prank

Channing Tatum in a scene from "Kingsman: The Golden Circle".

Channing Tatum went all out with his prank this time

Still downloading Game of Thrones? Expect a letter

You mean to tell me HBO want to protect one of the world’s most popular shows?

HBO title holds record as most illegally downloaded show

Owner tells of ghostly goings on at old Mackay pub

GHOST STORIES: Several people have died at the Mirani Hotel

Owner says pub is 'definitely haunted'

Developers 'pushing the envelope' with subdivisions

Darren Boettcher.

"When I said the block couldn't be subdivided, he just walked out"

'We don't want taken away': Death of big block lifestyle

BACKYARD BATTLE: Residents on Laloki St, Camira are desperately fighting to stop a subdivision and construction of a duplex going ahead in their street.

Wide open spaces could be thing of the past